LibriVox recording of The Wonderful Garden or The Three C.'s (1911), by Edith Nesbit (1858–1924). Read by Ruth Golding
Do you believe in magic? Caroline, Charles and Charlotte do, and nothing that happens during their summer holiday at their great uncle's house does anything to diminish that belief. There the Three C.'s find a wonderful garden and some very old books, resulting in escapades which do not necessarily please the grown-ups.
E. Nesbit, as usual, transports us back to the hazy summer days of a well-to-do Edwardian childhood, liberally spiced with magic, humour and lessons learned.
Published exactly 100 years ago, this is one of her least-known children's books, out of print for many years, and with no text available online at the time of recording. Yes, it's dated. Yes, it's politically incorrect. But it is delightful nonetheless. As Gore Vidal once wrote: "...though a reading of E. Nesbit is hardly going to change the pattern of a nation, there is some evidence that the child who reads her will never be quite the same again, and that is probably a good thing." (Introduction by Ruth Golding)
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July 24, 2011 Subject:
Wonderful Garden, wonderful story
Wonderful in the sense of being full of wonder...
E. Nesbit could summon up the wonder and mystery of the world of children like few others. JK Rowling would, I'm sure, be the first to acknowledge her debt. Nesbit's best books are sweet and sentimental but not mawkish, and (like this one) tinged with the anxieties of childhood. The innocence of the characters will be more appealing to adults than to kids, who may find their attitudes and manners rather alien.
The reader, Ruth Golding, is fabulous. The consistency of her character voices is great, and her soft well modulated voice compliments the book's dreamy atmosphere. Ruth, the author would very happy indeed with your work.